Film School for Risk Takers? Columbia University School of the Arts

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When deciding upon which film school to attend it requires patience. But, those who feel that they have been chosen to submerge themselves in the art of film making also have a sense of creativity. One of the best schools to foster that creativity into a reliable resource is Columbia University School of the Arts. 

You know when James Schamus is one of your professors, things can’t be too bad. Schamus, the head of Focus Features (who recently completed a doctorate on Carl Theodor Dreyer), is just one of the feathers in this Ivy League university’s cap. Another is Oscar winner Milos Forman, the school’s longtime leader. Then there’s a staff that includes Barbara De Fina (Goodfellas) and Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding). Names like these give Columbia intellectual credentials that dwarf its peers and have helped attract such alumni as Kathryn Bigelow, Lisa Cholodenko, James Mangold and Kimberly Peirce — not necessarily Hollywood’s most commercial filmmakers, but always among its most original. Will it remain that way under its new chair, Fine Line Features founder and indie exec Ira Deutchman? Deutchman insists on story and collaboration — two Hollywood ideals — yet stresses the importance of the artist. “You have to keep an eye on the business, but it’s first and foremost about creating artists,” he says. (THR)

Columbia University provides a wide variety of resources for their students. THe School of the Arts at Columbia University offer MFA degrees in Writing, Visual Arts, Theatre Arts, and Film. Furthermore, they also provide a MA degree in Film Studies, a JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, and a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature and Theory.

The School of the Arts has a variety of innovative graduate school programs with a tradition of risk taking, and providing a “deeply intellectual Ivy League university”

New York City

Columbia University School of the Arts is located in the heart of the Upper West Side of Manhattan bordering on the side of Morningside Hieghts neighborhood. Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, the main streets bordering campus, are lined with cafes, restaurants, bookstores, street vendors, pickup chess games, food carts, shops and delis, while the residential blocks just north and south of campus boast impressive brownstones and tree-lined quiet. The subway sits at exactly the main gate to campus, 116th Street and Broadway, making New York’s world-renowned museums, exciting Broadway and Off-Broadway theatres, film centers, galleries, cultural foundations, poetry houses and literary hubs a Metrocard swipe away (Columbia).

 Program Details

TUITION MFA first and second years: $50,873 per year; M.A.: $44,264

DEGREES MFA in film; M.A. in film studies

NOTABLE ALUMNI Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right), Nicole Holofcener (Walking and Talking)

“My years in the film program taught me the craft of screenwriting as well as the business of making movies. In so many ways, Columbia was the perfect combination of arts: conservatory and trade school, a place where I could read Aristotle and Eisenstein on narrative theory and analyze budgets and box office like a science. The lessons learned at Columbia — how to analyze and synthesize perspectives, how to treat your work as an ever-evolving document — serve me every day.” — Simon Kinberg, screenwriter, X-Men: The Last Stand

(Photo Courtesy of My Life is a Metaphor)

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